As he entered his carriage he handed to one of his friends a letter and a little box, saying to this general, “I cannot leave Vienna without thanking M. Larrey; do me the favor of handing to him for me this mark of my gratitude. Good Larrey, I will never forget the services he has rendered me.” Next day the friend performed his commission; and a soldier was sent with the letter and the present, and, as he reached Schoenbrunn during the parade, sought M. Larrey in the line. “Here is a letter and a box which I bring from General A——.” M. Larrey put both in his pocket, but after the parade examined them, and showed the package to Cadet de Gassicourt, saying, “Look at it, and tell me what you think of it.” The letter was very prettily written; as for the box, it contained a diamond worth about sixty francs.
This pitiful recompense recalls one both glorious and well-earned which M. Larrey received from the Emperor during the campaign in Egypt. At the battle of Aboukir, General Fugieres was operated on by M. Larrey under the enemies’ fire for a dangerous wound on the shoulder; and thinking himself about to die, offered his sword to General Bonaparte, saying to him, “General, perhaps one day you may envy my fate.” The general-in-chief presented this sword to M. Larrey, after having engraved on it the name of M. Larrey and that of the battle. However, General Fugieres did not die; his life was saved by the skillful operation he had undergone, and for seventeen years he commanded the Invalids at Avignon.
It is not in the presence of the enemy that differences in the manner and bearing of soldiers can be remarked, for the requirements of the service completely engross both the ideas and time of officers, whatever their grade, and uniformity of occupation produces also a kind of uniformity of habit and character; but, in the monotonous life of the camp, differences due to nature and education reassert themselves. I noted this many times after the truces and treaties of peace which crowned the most glorious campaigns of the Emperor, and had occasion to renew my observations on this point during the long sojourn which we made at Schoenbrunn with the army. Military tone in the army is a most difficult thing to define, and differs according to rank, time of service, and kind of service; and there are no genuine soldiers except those who form part of the line, or who command it. In the soldiers’ opinion, the Prince de Neuchatel and his brilliant staff, the grand marshal, Generals Bertrand, Bacler d’Albe, etc., were only men of the cabinet council, whose experience might be of some use in such deliberations, but to whom bravery was not indispensable.